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Asean Affairs  21  February 2011

2050-A pivotal year?

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     21 February 2011

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In earlier times, 1984, courtesy of George Orwell, was heralded as a year that could witness the change of the earth as we know it. However, today’s new suggests that the year 2050 could actually be the critical year.

In a story out of Washington, “The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach 7 billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, "with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia," said John Bongaarts of the nonprofit Population Council.

Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said, “To feed all those mouths, "we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000.”

Meanwhile, today, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) came out with its report, “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication-A Synthesis for Policy Makers.”

UNEP says that “Investing just 2 percent of global GDP into 10 key sectors can kick-start a transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy.”

The report demonstrates that a transition to a green economy is possible between now and 2050 through a transformation of key sectors: agriculture, buildings, energy, fisheries, forests, manufacturing, tourism, transport water and waste management.

The two reports have one thing in common, under both scenarios the GDP is expected to increase and to increase per capita, if sustainable development is vigorously pursued nationally as well as internationally.

For aspiring novelists, perhaps there is a ready-made novel with the title” 2050” or “2051.”

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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